1

Sparrow Grass

Trinity Repertory Company has a penchant for thinking outside of the box, for trying things that are new or unexpected. The folks at Trinity seem to like to shake things up a bit, often with success and audience approval. This season, they are presenting a “theatrical event” called Three by Three, with three original plays performed in rotating repertory on the Dowling stage.

           Sparrow Grass, which just opened, is the first of these world premieres. Sitting through it, though, you may feel that you are watching all three plays at once, crammed into one. In fact, there are about five or six different plays fighting for supremacy of this one script.

Simply put, it’s the story of a family who, under a façade of civility and perfection, are really, really screwed up. At play’s opening, Paula, her maid Isabelle and daughter Teddie are awaiting the arrival of the “Colonel,” Paula’s husband who has been serving in a war. At the same time, the prodigal son, Nate, unexpectedly reappears on the scene. The feeling that things are not going to go well is prophetic as the you-know-what slowly and spectacularly hits the fan.

Playwright Curt Columbus throws so much at the fan that it ends up a big mess. Is it a son-father revenge play? A family drama? An anti-war play? A steamy potboiler featuring lots of incest? Is it about the ravages of war? Loss of identity? The darkness underneath the “perfect” family? Likely, it’s all of the above. According to the director notes, it’s a modern retelling of the Phaedra myth, about a mother’s forbidden passion for her stepson. With so much else going on, and so much that is more interesting, the mother-stepson romance just seems superfluous. There are more nuanced and effective ways than this to comment on the state of the family in our society.

Eventually, by the time things got loud and violent, I had stopped caring. And stopped wondering what would, in the end, happen to these people. It’s hard to discern who to root for or to know whose story this really is we’re watching. It’s not helped by the fact that the play is schizophrenic, bouncing back and forth between stories and plotlines, leaving lots of dangling threads unexplained.

Truly, the stellar cast deserved better. Having never seen him in a lead role before, Richard Donnelly was impressive as Ralph, the “Colonel,” who I kept wishing the play was really about. The story of a war veteran, coming home to face what he’s done, dealing with the loss of identity and perhaps the loss of his own mind, would have been a far better play. Phyllis Kay, as Paula, was equally brilliant. Her scenes with Donnelly are great, they have wonderful chemistry together.

Unfortunately, the rest of the cast are mostly wasted. Barbara Meek and Jaime Rosenstein play the stereotypical sassy black maid and angst-ridden teenager, respectively. Tyler Lansing Weaks spends the bulk of the play with no shirt on, most of the time for no reason. His character, Nate, is either maniacal and devious, or he’s completely insane. Like many aspects of these characters, we never get to really understand what’s going on deep down inside, underneath the surface. That, like much of the play, is an unfortunate missed opportunity.

Sparrow Grass runs  through May 13 at Trinity Repertory Company.

Visit www.trinityrep.com




Avenue Q

To say that puppetry as a theatrical art has a long history would be an understatement. An ancient art form, it is believed to have its origins some 30,000 years ago inEgypt. Puppetry was utilized in many cultures and civilizations, including ancientChina, as well asGreeceandRome. In our own country, puppets have been a hugely popular part of our culture, from Howdy Doody toSesame Streetand The Muppet Show. They have been used to entertain and educate, making audiences laugh, learn cheer for many years. Now,CourthouseCenterfor the Arts is bringing to its stage some puppets who bring a very modern take to the puppet genre.

In 2003, puppets took theNew York Citytheater scene by storm when the smash hit Avenue Q opened off Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre. Well reviewed, it was extended multiple times, winning a Lucille Lortel Award for Best New Musical. Later that year, it opened on Broadway, where it ran until 2009, then moving back off-Broadway and spawning a number of national touring productions. During the show’s Broadway tenure, it won the Tony Award for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book, the Tony “triple crown.”

Avenue Q at the Courthouse will be the show’s firstRhode Islandproduction. It’s story centers on a recent college graduate namedPrincetonwho moves toNew York City, where he is only able to find an apartment on the street of the title. There, he meets a colorful assortment of characters, including Kate, the girl next door, Rod, the Republican, Trekkie, the internet addict, Nicky, the slacker roommate, Brian, the aspiring comedian, and others.

The characters, some of whom are human and some of whom are puppets, sing about many of the problems they face. They are songs about familiar problems, which every audience member has either experienced or knows somebody who has experienced it. Titles include “It Sucks to Be Me,” “My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada,” “The Internet is for Porn,” “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist,” and “For now.”

Puppets and humans alike examine these issues and others with wit, sarcasm and more than a little snark. Not appropriate for young children, the show has been critically acclaimed and beloved by adult audiences everywhere. It’s also been described as “an ingenious combination of The Real World andSesame Street” and “…how Friends might be if it had Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy arguing about their one-night stand, but with more angst, expletives and full-on puppet sex.”

Courthouse’s production is directed by Richard Ericson, Director of theCourthouseCenterfor the Arts.  Puppets for the show will be designed and made by local puppet master Nora Eschenheimer, while JonPaul Rainville will be the assistant director and choreographer and the musical director will be Lila Kane.  In addition to the production of Avenue Q, there will be kid-friendly puppet programs during the run of this adult “puppet show”.  The downstairs galleries will display the marionette and puppet stage collection of Dan Butterworth throughout Avenue Q’s run.

Avenue Q runs through March 11

at  theCourthouseCenterfor the Arts

Visit www.courthousearts.org




TRIST provides belly laughs with weekend performances of Twelfth Night

If you’re looking for a little comical pre-game in your weekend romp downtown, allow us to suggest Twelfth Night, produced by the The Rhode Island Shakespeare Theater (TRIST). Directed by Bob Colonna, the play runs at the Roots Cafe onWestminster Streetand play features an excellent cast of capable actors. There’s plenty of opportunity for knee slapping in this fast-paced telling of the classic tale of pursued love and gender-bending.

The play capitalizes the phenomenon of overlooked and unrequited love. The principal characters find themselves yearning for those who do not share their feelings. An intricate web of simmering affection is weaved amid a myriad of subplots which all provide audience members with rich and well-developed characters. In essence, from a plot standpoint, it’s a classic Shakespeare comedy.

And yet there is much new that many will find appealing in this production. Light sabers have been traded for swords (vocal sound effects and all), backwards baseball caps, gold chains and sagging jeans revealing boxer shorts are adorned with modern cheekiness. (No pun intended.) Colonna has provided modern audiences with the rousing levels of accessibility. What’s best, you wont feel pandered to. None of the slapstick routines or larger-than-life character portrayals feel like gimmicks. If anything, the quick pace of the show and the smart use of the space make them feel appreciated.

While most of the cast leans on the younger side of life, there is a comic maturity set forth which any audience member will appreciate. Patrick Keeffe can hardly be older than twenty-years-old, yet he displays firm command of the Olivia (Bonnie Griffin) obsessed Duke Orsino. Expect to see great things out of Keeffe, should he continue to nurture his talent. The same is true for Bonnie Griffin. Displaying perfect control over her character,Griffinearns some of the biggest laughs of the evening. The intimacy of the venue also lends itself to a literal front row view ofGriffin’s expressions, as well. You’ll be able to see up close, in ways not often afforded an audience member, the amount of mental work put in byGriffin.

Of course, what’s a good piece of local theater without some good-natured humor regarding ‘Lil Rhodey. Enter Mike Daniels as the supporting Antonio. Daniels nails down his character with an old school, Federal Hill Italian mobster accent. His performance is truly unbelievable, one on par with those featured on Saturday Night Live. It is only after the lights have come on and the actors leave through the same doors as patrons that you hear the speaking voice of Daniels- one that bears no resemblance to the quick-witted impersonation delivered moments prior.

Like any piece of community theater, audience members must wade through the obligatory robotic renditions of people like Kathleen Bebeau. Do not fret, potential theater goer, as there is a silver lining, and her name is Meryn. Playing Feste, Meryn Flynn is out-of-this world amazing. The set of pipes on this young lady are showstoppers, and Colonna lets her showcase them. After seeing this production of Twelfth Night, you will wonder who else could possibly play the role of fool with such authority and command of character. In a way, seeing Meryn shine in this role almost sets you up for disappointment for future productions. She truly comes across as that unbelievable.

All told, the benefits of spending your early evening soaking up a few good laughs before hitting the bars are countless. Be sure to pen this in on your weekend to-do list.

Twelfth Night runs through March 10

at the Roots Cafe.

Visit www.rootscafeprovidence.com




New Works Debut at Up Close on Hope

As Festival Ballet Providence continues to make unprecedented strides since its amazing season opening fundraising gala “Together We Dance,” where dancers from some of the top ballet companies around the world donated their talents, Artistic Director Mihailo Djuric has planned a very busy second act for their 2011-2012 Season.

During February, the dance troupe presents the second installment of the award winning Up Close On Hope, along with a world premiere of “Mother Goose Goes toHollywood” for the popular chatterBOXtheatre, a dance series designed for children – young and old.

Billed as “dance so close you can touch it,” Up Close features a collection of unrelated dance vignettes ranging from contemporary to modern to classical in style. Set in the company’s intimate Black Box Theatre, audiences gush about these performances where “you can even hear the dancers breathing and see them sweat,” proving that despite how effortless they make dance look, they are working pretty darn hard.

The centerpiece for this installment will be resident choreographer Viktor Plotnikov’s “Short Stories for a Small Magazine.” Plotnikov first premiered this piece in 2004 for Boston Ballet’s highly regarded Raw Dance series. Since 2002, he has been staging world premiers for FBP often drawing international acclaim and awards for his efforts.

Inspired by the Jean Paul Belmondo film, Le Magnifique, “Short Stories” consists of six stories exploring family, hardship during war, addiction, labor strive, machines and childhood and love. With themes that are for more topical than some of Plotnikov’s current offerings, which tend to be far more metaphysical in nature, the dancing too seems a departure. The movements are bigger, raw and edgy versus the compact, rigid and eclectic style that has become his trademark.

The program also includes yet another world premiere by company dancer and popular Up Close choreographer Mark Harootian. Set to the music of Lady Gaga, rearranged by the Vitamin String Quartet, this piece utilizes six company dancers. As with most Harootian works, what he does with the music generally proves to be just as intriguing as his choreography.

Another company dancer, Leticia Guerrero, presents her second work for Up Close on Hope also a world premiere. The program features a total of four world premieres. Using three couples, this piece looks at relationships, “how they connect us and set us apart.”

Festival Ballet also proudly introduces George Birkadze, he will debut two world premieres: “RJ,” “a duet about first steps, first experiences and something forbidden,” and “My Sorrow” with five dancers depicting experiences with frustration.

Rounding out the program will be two classics: Petipa’s exhilarating “Don Quixote” pas de deux and Vaganova’s version of Petipa’s “Diana and Acteon.” Both pieces will give company dancers an opportunity to showcase their superior skills and athleticism.

And while Up Close will be occupying the spotlight on evenings in February, Boston Ballet’s Boyko Dossev, a frequent Up Close contributor, will present his world premiere production of “Mother Goose Goes toHollywood” for chatterBOXtheatre prior to the evening performances.

This charming and wholly original work promises to delight all – young and old. Watch as a father and his daughter create a series of heartfelt stories and then successfully sell them toHollywood, culminating in a trueHollywoodending complete with a wedding.

 

Festival Ballet Providence,825 Hope St,Providencepresents Up Close on Hope Feb 17-18, 24-25; March 2-3 at

Visit www.festivalballet.com




Morra, Chace Stage ‘Scared of Sarah’

Sometimes the only thing we can expect in life is the unexpected. And the only guarantees are that there are no guarantees. These may be cliché, but it’s hard to argue their truth. When life throws an unexpected event our away, we must be prepared to take it on, something that’s often difficult to do. The play Scared of Sarah, being presented at the Black Box Theater at the Artists’ Exchange and presented by Sidecar Theater Company, examines just this situation.

Sidecar is a young company, recently formed by Rich Morra, Artistic Director at the Black Box Theater and Tom Chace, an actor and the Black Box’s Musical Director. They formed Sidecar so they could perform the kinds of shows they really wanted to do. “We can produce whatever we want,” Morra says.  “Shows that have interesting, edgy characters. Shows with small casts, that are a little bit edgier. It’s more cutting-edge kind of stuff.”

Sarah is a three-character play, focusing on young couple Lilly and Sam, who are expecting their first, unplanned, child. “It’s the story of a couple forced to be ready for more than they are,” Morra says. That event comes in the person of Lilly’s sister, Sarah, who is autistic. Due to a fire in her apartment, Sarah moves in with her sister and brother-in-law. Her presence in their home creates fear in Lilly. “She is afraid of having a child, what if the child has a disability, like Sarah,” Morra says.

“The play also deals with how the world views people with disabilities,” Morra notes. “People with autism and Asperger’s are in our everyday life. We might not even know they have a disability.” This also fits in well, Morra says, with the Artists’ Exchange’s mission to integrate adults with developmental disabilities into its programs.

“A friend of mine saw the play and said it was a really good story, right up my alley,” Morra says. The play is relatively new, having had a staged reading at theKennedyCenterin D.C. and a production at the Fringe Festival inNew York City. While he loves what he does full-time, Morra says getting to do plays like this allows him to do his kind of theater, which he says is “minimalistic,” adding, “Give me a box. I’ll paint it black. Put some actors in there and tell a story, it will be awesome.”

The story he’s telling with this play, Morra says, is “How do you deal with things you just aren’t ready for? It’s about being available for things you thought you weren’t ready for.” There is also, he says, an important story about the relationship between the two sisters. “Lilly has great difficulty getting along with her autistic sister but she’s in a much better place by the end of the play, after having to deal with her sister much more than she used to.”

Sidecar’s first show, Love Song was successful for Morra, who is excited for what’s happening with his small company as well as the Artists’ Exchange at large. “We’re really enjoying relative success. It’s a community kind of program that’s been growing and growing.” It may be safe to say that they can expect even more success in the future.

Sidecar Theater Company presents

Scared of Sarah, by Laura Brienza, at Artists’ Echange,50 Rolfe Square, Crantson. Runs Feb 17-26. Visit www.artists-exchange.org




Trinity Cast Carries ‘Merchant of Venice’

When many think of the plays of William Shakespeare, they focus on his male characters, like Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and others. It’s always been my opinion, though, that Shakespeare’s women are just as strong as his men, and in some instances even stronger. One play where the women outshine the men is A Merchant in Venice, currently in production at Trinity Repertory Company.

When most talk about Merchant, they think of Shylock, the Jewish moneylender. A somewhat controversial character, he’s been played many different ways. Here, it’s unfortunately as little more than a poor little victim, constantly whining about his lot in life. Whether it’s actor Stephen Berenson’s fault or not is hard to say, but the interpretation doesn’t make Shylock more human, it makes him weak and creates a far less interesting character.

Antonio and Bassanio, the other male leads, are played by Joe Wilson, Jr. and Stephen Thorne, respectively.Wilsonis a powerful actor but could really loosen up a bit at times. His Antonio is too stiff and too serious, too much of the time, not allowing for many levels or nuances in the performance. Although it’s hard to discern why these two are such great friends, Thorne makes clear Bassanio’s passion for his friendship with Antonio, handling the verse and the emotions very well.

The rest of the male cast is excellent, especially the always-reliable Fred Sullivan, Jr. as Gratiano, and Will Austin as Lorenzo. The first half of the play actually focuses more on the story of Lorenzo and his lady love, Jessica, than it does on the other subplots. The scenes depicting the Lorenzo/Jessica story are the best of the first half.

Jessica, Shylock’s daughter who runs away to be with Lorenzo, is played wonderfully by Caroline Kaplan. She and Austin were both excellent in the recent Brown MFA production of Parade and they are equally excellent here. Both are Brown MFA Acting students and if they stick around after graduation, it will be exciting to watch them take on bigger and more challenging roles on area stages.

Which brings us to the leading ladies. First, Rachel Warren as Nerisa, Portia’s waiting gentlewoman.Warrenis always a joy to watch. Her face is so expressive that her silent reactions alone are worth the price of a ticket. When she speaks, she’s just as good or better. Portia, though, is the one to whom this play belongs, in my opinion. She is, for me, the center and strength of this play.

Luckily, Trinity’s Portia is played by an actress more than up for the challenge, Mary C. Davis. Among the cast, she is one of the most skilled and comfortable with the verse, which comes trippingly offer her tongue. More importantly, she doesn’t just speak the lines, she lives and feels them. In the second half, when the play becomes largely focused on her, she puts it on her shoulders and carries it perfectly.

That second half leaves behind the scattershot, all over the place feeling of the first, dealing instead with one story and one event. Due in large part to the performances of Davis,Warrenand the rest of the cast, the second half far outshines the first and ends up as a powerful piece of Shakespearean theater.

 

The Merchant of Venice, Trinity Rep. 201 Washington St, Providence, runs thru March 11. www.trinityrep.com




Talking With…’ is a 10

The word “monologue” is defined as: 1) a form of dramatic entertainment, comedic solo or the like, by a single speaker; 2) any composition, as a poem, in which a single person s peaks alone; 3) a prolonged talk or discourse by a single speaker, and; 4) a part of a drama in which a single actor speaks alone.

While these four definitions may be very similar, the monologue, as part of a play’s script, can take on an infinite number of forms, styles and genres. It can be tragic, comic, hilarious, devastating and everything in between.

Plays featuring a series of monologues can be a risky proposition. Some audiences want a full-length story with a beginning, middle an end. They expect a play that follows a three-act structure and tells a multi-layered story. It can be challenging to create a play that is just as appealing that contains many disconnected short stories, rather than the typical single long story format. Director Ron Robinson is taking on that challenge with his production of Talking With at Little Theater of Fall River.

“It’s like directing 10 different mini-plays, but there really is no different challenge than directing one long play,” Robinson says. “It was more difficult to create a ‘family’ atmosphere that usually occurs because, until this week, all the participants were not together. This is not really a challenge, just a different experience.”

It was the simplicity and the variety that attracted Robinson to the play, he says. Variety is the name of the game here, as the play features a wide-ranging diversity of characters, including a woman in her 23d hour of labor, a bag lady’s, an auditioning actress and a rodeo rider. The stories of these women run the gamut from hilarious to tragic, touching on everything in between.

Only having to focus on one monologue does benefit the actors, Robinson says, “There is not as much of a time commitment as there is in most shows as they did not need to be at all rehearsals.”

The rehearsal environment involved other differences form a typical show.

“There is no interaction at all between the characters, so each actor only had to focus on their individual role. Therefore, it was a one on one process between actor and director.”

Shows of this type occasionally tie the monologues together with a common theme, but not this time,” Robinson says. “There really is no connection between the monologues – other than that they are all delivered by women who have something to say. The women are young, old and in between. Some of the stories are sad, some are funny and some are just a little bit strange.”

He adds that they are all entertaining and provide “great opportunities for the actors to shine.”

When asked if he has a favorite monologue from the play, Robinson says it would be “very difficult to choose.” Seeing these unique and entertaining monologues will, he hopes, be a “different” experience that will wow audience members. Unlike a typical play, this one will have 10 chances, around 10 minutes each, to make that happen.

 

Talking With…, the Little Theatre, the Fire Barn,340 Prospect Street,Fall River.  www.littletheatre.net Runs Jan 19-29




The Community Players’ ‘Sugar Sisters’ are Sweet

What would happen if you put Steel Magnolias,Twin Peaks, The X-Files and a Stephen King novel in a blender, blended them together, and dumped the result into the Florida swamp?

You might get something like the extremely entertaining and delightfully bizarre The Sugar Bean Sisters, presented inPawtucketby The Community Players.

Nathan Sanders wrote the play that beams audiences into theFloridahome, in a swamp near Disney World, inhabited by the Nettles sisters, Faye and Willie Mae. Faye anxiously awaits the return of an alien spaceship which promises, she believes, to take her away from it all, while Willie Mae is equally hopeful that a good Mormon man will sweep her away just as fast. One stormy night in August, a stranger appears on their doorstep and things quickly go from strange to stranger in what becomes a very dark, very funny comedy.

Longtime Community Players veteran Karen Kessler plays Faye with a wonderful balance between an innocent child and a scheming, wily adult. While there may be moments when Fay seems dumbfounded or clueless, it’s clear there’s a lot more going on underneath than meets the eye. Kessler has the chance, as Faye, to say what may be some of the most silly and unusual lines ever written, and she does so with a perfectly straight face. She handles well the broad comedy and the sensitive moments.

Equally capable of handling everything the role asks of her is Janette Gregorian as Willie Maye. Her every emotion is honest and palpable. For example, when she speaks about wanting to get married, it is a very real and touching moment. A charismatic stage presence, Gregorian also gets to have some clear fun while playing this character who is the crazy aunt we’ve all either had or heard about.

Barbara Schapiro plays the unexpected visitor, Videlia Sparks, who sets in motion some hilarious and unexpected events. Schapiro’s Videlia fits right in with the other two eccentric characters and the actress more than holds her own. The three of them together on stage are a force to be reckoned with. The cast is rounded out by two actors who make the most of smaller roles, Paul Collins as Bishop Crumley, and Alyce Fitzgerald-Hagopian as The Reptile Woman. Her appearance onstage may be brief but it is highly memorable.

The cast is helped by the well-balanced touch of director Vincent Lupino. Only a few times did I get the sense that a director was at work, controlling the actors’ actions, responses or movements. The rest of the play felt very natural and organic, indicating that Lupino let things happen as they should instead of imposing his will on the action. I also got the impression that the rehearsal period must have been fun for director and actors alike. The process of playing with and exploring these characters, scenes and moments must have been fun and exciting.

In the end, the production left an indelible mark on the memory and a smile on the faces of the audience. When the show was over, they may have felt sad to be leaving these characters, wishing they could have spent more time in their weird and wonderful world.

The Sugar Bean Sisters, The Community Players , Jenks Auditorium,Division St,Pawtucket. www.thecommunityplayers.org Runs Jan 20-22




Baseball, Theater =Life at Second Story

For 2nd Story Theatre, 2012 opens with Take Me Out, Richard Greenberg’s provocative examination of “America’s game,” offering a locker room view of how a baseball team reacts when it’s star player suddenly and unapologetically outs himself. Artistic Director Ed Shea promises “it’s one of those plays that people will talk about for seasons to come.”

Thanks to some extremely powerful performances — and plenty of male nudity — he may be right.

Emphasizing the metaphorical nature of baseball for life, Greenberg’s play provokes deep thought but almost crumbles beneath its own weightiness. To many, star baseball player Darren Lemming appears to be one of these gifted godlike athletes endowed with limitless skill and grace. Yet, his announcement tests the boundaries of friendship, loyalty and male camaraderie while challenging long cherished traditions. The play’s biggest obstacle proves to be the uncertainty about what Greenberg attempts to accomplish and whether or not he succeeds.

Shane, the bigoted, knuckle dragging homophobe, seems the play’s obvious villain. But, Jeff Church’s powerful, tour de force performance makes him a tragic and sympathetic figure. Darren (Ara Boghigian) comes off as a manipulative and calculating narcissist. Perhaps, if his cockiness were dialed back just a bit, later efforts at humility wouldn’t seem so shallow. Greenberg doesn’t really give the audience anybody to wholeheartedly cheer for.

The most likeable character may very well be Mason (Kevin Broccoli), Darren’s gay business manager. With an unadulterated passion for baseball, Mason appears to be the only one capable of looking beyond Darren’s homosexuality, continually reminding him why he plays the game and why so many people love the game he plays. In the end, Darren appears to be the one having the most difficulty coming to terms with his sexuality and his role as a baseball god.

When friend and teammate Kippy (Tim White) observes how his coming out has made him less godlike and more human, the young star seems troubled, referring to Kippy’s observation as a “demotion.” This makes one ponder that if he had to do it all over again, be “true to himself” or remain godlike, Darren might just chose the latter.

Another revealing moment occurs when the team’s manager (Eric Behr) subtly accuses Darren of breaking the cardinal rule of all team sports by placing himself above the team….not by coming out, but by intentionally remaining a lighting rod afterward. His belittling of those who simply don’t agree with his lifestyle, or his insistence that Shane be punished more, enflame matters further. Ironically, the linguistically-challenged Japanese pitcher Kawabata (Kyle Blanchette) sums things up rather succinctly: “For many baseball is not just a metaphor, it’s everything.”

Greenberg ratchets-up the already controversial subject matter by continually espousing the Freudian concept that all heterosexuals have latent homosexual tendencies. To promote this idea, the play features heavy doses of male full-frontal nudity, an obvious metaphor for being “outed” or exposed. Suddenly, team members become self- conscious during what used to be the mundane act of showering together, proving, as Greenberg concludes through Kippy, they are all “in denial.” But, as the play progresses, the nudity becomes extraneous and gratuitous culminating in a shower scene that stretches the limits of believability, causing one to truly consider Darren’s calculating nature.

Darren, though, is not alone with his flaws. His best friend Davey (Marlon Carey), who encourages him to “be honest,” ultimately rebukes him for being a “pervert” simply to protect his own masculine image. Kippy, who always tries to do and say the right thing, clumsily contributes to the hatred in more ways than he could possibly imagine.

While Take Me Out has its shortcomings, the performances alone make it a must see.
Runs thru Feb 19, www.2ndstorytheatre.com